Opening day of the 2010 Del Mar meet is in the books, and with it came a Pick Six carry over of $164,722 and a dead-heat in Race 7 that triggered a shared late Pick 4 pool. The Pick 4 pool had an impressive $573,146.
Two turn races on the first day played similar to routes in meets past with each winner two or more lengths back after a half mile.
Twirling Candy's relatively easy win in the Oceanside has got to have his connections thinking about the grass for Sindey's Candy. Additionally, while I was impressed with the manner that Twirling Candy won yesterday, I have to disagree with TVG commentators that suggested he's one of the top three year olds in the countr y. He's won three races, the latest being a restricted race on the lawn against a field that was primarily comprised of allowance level horses. Twirling Candy may well turn out to be a solid turf horse over the course of the rest of the year but it's a little premature to call him "one of the best".
Results: Del Mar - Day 1 (July 21, 2010)
Highest priced winner: J J Minister - $44.60 (Race 10)
Lowest priced winner: Twirling Candy - $3.60 (Race 8)
Let's move on to the second day of the meet.
Entries: Del Mar - Day 2 (July 22, 2010)The first race on the card is a Maiden Special Weight at a mile on the main track for three year olds and up...and it drew only five horses. Ugh, let's hope that's not a sign of things to come for the Del Mar meet cause that would be pretty said. I'll pass on the five horse field and move on to a race that looks a bit more interesting on paper.
Race 2: $16k Claiming, 7 furlongs, 3yo, Fillies
Looks like a fire sale on the 4-Precious Song (5/2) as trainer Doug O'Neill cuts her price by over 50% from her last race on the lawn at Hollywood Park. Two races back she won a $30k claimer yet today she can be yours for the tidy sum of $16,000. Tough to know what to do with this filly; is this move predicated on the hope of a win/claim scenario or are the connections looking to cut and run?
3-Cruzin Topless (7/2) has shown good tactical ability in many of her past race yet she ran pretty poorly at Pleasanton last time. That was her first attempt at going two turns on dirt, as opposed to her more familiar turf/synthetic conditions so it's possible she didn't feel comfortable with the track. The cut back in distance and the surface switch should help her to bounce back from that disappointing effort and if Precious Song is off-form then this filly might be the one to beat.
Race 3: OC 40k/N1X, 5 furlongs (Turf), 3&up, Fillies & Mares
The turf sprints at Hollywood and Santa Anita tend to be run at six or six and a half furlongs, as opposed to five furlongs at Del Mar, and as a result we're faced with a race with only two horses that have run this sprint distance on the lawn (6-Fanatical (GB) and 7-Once Upon a Grace (IRE)).
Once Upon A Grace (8/1) appears to me to be the value play in this field; she's run seven races in North America since shipping over from the Europe and two of her best performances were sprinting five furlongs on the lawn at Del Mar last summer. This mare has a tendency to get rank early on but that shouldn't comprise her too much in a five furlong dash.
Race 5: OC $100k/C, 5 furlongs (Turf), 3&up, Fillies & Mares
The second of the two turf sprints on the card and a race that I didn't have much of a strong opinion about any of the runners in this field. 1-Reba Is Tops (3/1) has put in some decent efforts sprinting on the lawn and narrowly missed scoring in a listed stake at this distance on the Del Mar turf course last summer. If she runs that type of race in this spot she has an excellent chance to come out on top.
3-Octavia Blue (12/1) might make a decent pure value play in this spot; the class level appears to be a bit of a stretch for her but she's got a tremendous early burst and I would expect her to have the lead going into the first turn. It will likely be a tough task to hold off the rest of the field in the stretch, but at odds of 12/1 she deserves a look at the possibility of getting loose on the lead.
Race 7: OC $40k/N1X, 1 3/8 miles (Turf), 3&up,
The seventh race is the feature race of the Del Mar on-line handicapping contest where players have $100 to spread around on any horses they chose in the form of win, place and show bets. Yesterday, my prime play in the Oceanside, Gallant Gent, ran well but could only manage 3rd to Twirling Candy, which netted me a big fat zero. I threw $20 on the winner, however, so the day wasn't a complete loss.
4-Tripitaka (GB) (5/2) fits in with this group very nicely and he's unlikely to have any problem with covering this distance of ground. His preferred running style is up on the lead but I'm not sure that he'll find himself in that position today with the gelding to his inside, 3-Scorpion Time (5/1), possessing a bit more early foot. If Tripitaka is able to settle into a nice stalking run in the early stages he should be very tough to deny in the lane.
The 5-Soul Candy (8/1), a Cal-bred that has been plying his trade in the statebred ranks at Santa Anita and Hollywood, might offer some hope a bit of value in this race. Class-wise he's outgunned, and he's probably a question mark at the distance, as well. However, I like the fact that he generally closes well and he's able to take back in the early stages and wait to make a late move. If Tyler Baze can keep him relaxed in the early stages and allow him to make one run when they hit the top of the lane, Soul Candy might be able to grab a 2nd or 3rd spot. If the place and show pools indicate value then he might be worth a bit of a play.